You may think a child doesn’t need to see the dentist until they are older and their teeth are fully grown in, but they actually should visit the dentist earlier than you think. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and most dental professionals recommend that you bring your child for their first visit by the age of one or six months after their first tooth appears.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Many do not know that a child’s baby teeth are actually quite important for their future oral health. The proper development of baby teeth helps a child chew properly, develop correct speech and create space for their future permanent teeth. That’s why it’s important to start learning how to care for your child’s teeth right away.
What to Expect at the First Visit
Since many parents tend to wait until the child is a bit older to take them for their first dental visit, the child may be a little nervous about the appointment. This is completely normal. Typically when a child comes to see Dr. Kaffey for the first time, he follows a thorough process to make sure your child is comfortable.
First, he will show the child around the office, and explain exactly what he is going to do during the visit. He’ll explain to the child that they are visiting him to get their teeth cleaned and that he has special tools he uses to do that. This is done so the child knows exactly what is going to happen.
Then, he will do the examination and one of his dental hygienists will clean your child’s teeth. Everyone will make sure your child is comfortable and having fun. He will check the child’s gums, jaws and bite to make sure that they are developing properly. Dr. Kaffey likes to call the cleaning process “tooth tickling,” which tends to make it seem a little less scary.
Finally, he will talk to you about dental hygiene and how to care for a young child’s teeth, including what toothpaste is appropriate to use, how to start brushing the child’s teeth and how to keep up good habits at home.
He will make sure that you and your child know what is happening every step of the way, and that you are prepared when you leave the office as well.
Coping with First-Time Nerves
Many young children tend to need some introduction before their appointment to prepare them for when they actually sit in Dr. Kaffey’s chair. Here are some ways to give them a heads up.
- Introduce the idea with books and pictures, so the child can learn first what a dentist is and what they do when you visit them.
- Role play with your child, and take turns playing dentist and patient. They will be able to imagine what will happen at the real dentist, and warm up to the idea.
- Take them to your next appointment, so they can see for themselves what happens during the examination and cleaning.
On the day of the appointment if your child seems particularly anxious, it may be helpful to bring a comfort object, such as a toy, blanket or stuffed animal. This may help the child to see that the office is a safe place for them. The more comfortable the child is, the easier your visit will go.
There’s No Need to Worry
With over 2 decades of dental experience, your child will be in good hands with Dr. David Kaffey. He has worked with all ages from children to adults, including his own children, nieces and nephews. He will make sure that your child’s first visit is as successful as possible, and that they will feel comfortable and ready to come back again next time. Call our office in Lansdale to set up your child’s first appointment, so Dr. Kaffey can make sure your child is starting off on the right foot (or tooth!).